Denver police shot and killed a teenage girl early Monday who they say drove a stolen car at two officers in a dark alley, hitting one of them in the leg, reports the Denver Post. It was the third time in seven months that Denver police have shot suspects whom they accused of using cars as weapons. The shooting happened about 6:30 a.m. as an officer was investigating reports of a suspicious vehicle. The officer ran the vehicle's plates, learned it had been reported stolen Sunday night and called for backup.
Five teenagers apparently had been sitting in the car for hours. When two officers approached the car, the female driver drove at them, and both officers fired. The driver, who was not immediately identified, was killed. The injured officer was treated for a leg injury. In the earlier automobile shootings, Denver police killed a man driving a stolen car after he rammed several police vehicles on July 2. On Nov. 20, police shot and injured two brothers who had eluded them during an earlier traffic stop. Officers said they fired after the driver tried to pull toward them as they approached on foot.
The National Registry of Exonerations recorded 125 new exonerations in 2014, topping the previous record of 91 in both 2012 and 2013. The registry, affiliated with the University of Michigan Law School, now includes 1,535 exonerations in the United States since 1989. The 37 percent annual increase in exonerations last year was driven largely by 33 exonerations in drug cases in Harris County, Tex.
The registry says 49 exonerations in 2014 resulted from the work of prosecutorial Conviction Integrity Units, through which prosecutors work to identify and remedy false convictions in their own jurisdictions. Other highlights from the registry's 2014 report: More than half of all the exonerations last year (67 of 125) had law enforcement support; the number of exonerations that did not include DNA rose to an all-time high of 103, and the proportion of exonerations that do not involve murder or sexual assault is steadily growing.
The Clinton Foundation says it has negotiated a lower price that municipalities will pay for naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of prescription painkiller or heroin overdoses, says the New York Times. Many cities want to equip police officers and other emergency responders with the drug, but the cost per treatment had doubled to nearly $100 over the past year in some places. Local law enforcement and health authorities say they are struggling to keep the lifesaving drug available.
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative, part of a foundation founded by former President Bill Clinton, said it had negotiated a stable, low price for an injector that delivers a single dose of naloxone. The chief executive of the Clinton Initiative declined to disclose the price but said it was close to what the federal government pays for the product. The government, a large purchaser, has bargaining power to get a lower price. Until now, municipalities and other entities were forced to negotiate individually.
The sexual abuse of a 13-year-old Boy Scout by an adult volunteer was part of a "sordid history of child sexual abuse" within the organization that has been documented internally for nearly a century, the victim's attorney said Monday at a civil trial in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Associated Press reports that the Scout, now 20, has sued the Boy Scouts of America and a local scouting council for punitive damages after being molested by a volunteer leader in 2007. He claims in his negligence lawsuit that the Scouts failed to warn parents about the dangers of sex abuse.
His attorney, Tim Hale, won the right to draw evidence from more than 30 years of "perversion" files kept by the Scouts. The files cleared for use by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna D. Geck include 16 years of documents — from 1991 to 2007— that have never been seen before. Hale told the jury that the Scouts had compiled an archive of about 10,000 such files between 1920 and 2007. "The Boy Scouts of America has a long and sordid history of child sexual abuse committed against young Scouts," he said.
Sunday and Monday were the deadliest days of the week in Los Angeles in 2014. April saw the most killings; January and February the least. More people were killed with a firearm than any other weapon. Those statistics and others compiled by the LAPD offer a detailed look at the 260 homicides that occurred in Los Angeles last year, reports the city's Times. Collectively, the data offers a look at "the nature of homicide in Los Angeles," said Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Violence tied to gangs remained the leading motive for homicides in L.A., at 160 killings, or about 62 percent of the total. Street killings are linked to gang violence, Beck said, which helps explain why about 53 percent of the city's homicides occurred on a street or sidewalk. Nearly 86 percent of the people killed in Los Angeles last year were male. About one-third of victims were 26 to 35, and about a quarter were 18 to 25. Out of 260 victims, 119 were Latino and 112 were black. Four murder-suicides occurred, each related to domestic violence.
Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who was involved in a highly secretive operation to give faulty nuclear plans to Iran, was convicted Monday of providing classified information about his work to a New York Times reporter — a significant win for federal prosecutors and a presidential administration that has worked zealously to root out leakers, reports the Washington Post. The 47-year-old Missouri man is scheduled to be sentenced April 24 and remains free until then. Attorney General Eric Holder said the verdict was a “just and appropriate outcome.”
Sterling was accused of a breach that ultimately closed off one of the few avenues the United States had to stem the development of Iran’s nuclear program. But the prosecution also was notable because it spawned a First Amendment confrontation between the Justice Department and James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times.
Angered by the comments of Republican politicians in Alabama after a federal judge declared the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, Alabama's first openly gay state legislator is threatening to disclose the extramarital affairs of her fellow elected officials, reports AL.com. State Rep. Patricia Todd, a Birmingham Democrat, fired off an emotional Facebook post directed at Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Attorney General Luther Strange, both of whom vowed to challenge the judge's ruling.
"To say I am disappointed in Speaker Hubbard comment's and Attorney General Strange choice to appeal the decision is an understatement," Todd posted over the weekend. "I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about 'family values' when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have. I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out." She doubled down on the threat in an interview Monday, saying, "Don't start throwing bricks at my window when yours is already cracked as well."
A growing number of American law enforcement agencies are equipping police vehicles with trauma kits that allow officers to quickly control bleeding, reports the Washington Post. Officers are being taught enough emergency medical care to keep victims from going into shock before professional medics can take over. The demand for trauma kits was prompted in part by crime events with mass casualties, such as the Boston Marathon bombings.
In 2012, the FBI and the American College of Surgeons gathered medical and law enforcement leaders from around the country to come up with ways to improve survival rates in such events by preventing deaths by hemorrhage. Since then, about 50 of the country's largest police departments have trained some 185,000 officers to use the kits, officials said.
Two similar Democratic proposals to equip more police officers with body-worn cameras should come into better focus within days, as details emerge on a White House initiative as well as a prominent African-American lawmaker’s legislation in the House, reports Roll Call. But GOP lawmakers with authority on the issue on both sides of Capitol Hill are so far tight-lipped. Calls to expand the use of the cameras have gained traction since the controversial August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
President Obama asked Congress in December for $75 million in grant money to help law enforcement agencies buy more cameras, and that is expected to be part of the White House budget proposal for fiscal 2016. The White House wants an additional $55 million to research the use of body cameras. The cameras, supporters say, help boost transparency in officer interactions with the public. But their increasing use also raises questions about privacy and officer discretion.
After complaints from officers, Dallas police commanders have revised their foot-chase policy to give officers more freedom to pursue suspects, reports the Dallas Morning News. Chief David Brown implemented a new policy on foot pursuits after a 2012 police shooting that nearly sparked a riot in South Dallas. The new policy required officers to consider multiple factors when deciding when to chase, to restrict situations where an officer chases alone, and to avoid most situations where the officers could be at a disadvantage without backup.
Police unions blasted the policy as too restrictive and confusing. Brown told a City Council committee Monday that officers now won’t have to stop chasing suspects they have identified, such as domestic violence suspects, and could probably apprehend later. Some of the tweaks also grant officers more leeway to decide whether to end a chase. Brown said the policy was meant to keep officers safe and that the changes were a compromise.